By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
The biggest suspense about this film is, what's the serene and lovely Juhi Chawla doing here??!! Sporting reading glasses and trying earnestly to look like a criminal psychologist who has just unearthed the biggest mystery about serial-killing (no, not that they're a new breed in Hindi films) she brings in a kind of mellowness that the shrieking proceedings don't deserve.
And then there is Shilpa Shetty, last seen giving a rousing and sensitive performance in PHIR MILENGE. Here she'd back to doing what she's best known for. Wriggling her posterior and making a 101 faces into the camera.
Shilpa is a prostitute who thumbs a ride with newcomer Rajeev Singh who's secretary to a dangerously under-dressed music-video floozy (Rakhi Sawant) who gets bumped off midway…or somewhere close by.
One loses track of time while watching this gruesome ghoulish and jumbled murder mystery. Director Deepak Tijori keeps going into wacky distanced time zones unannounced. One minute we're watching Ms Shetty drive down a barren highway. The next minute she's writhing and groaning on the dance floor in one of those beer bars that would throw Mumbai's moral police into a fit of anger…But they needn't despair. Because two minutes later she's back on the highway pouting and peering anxiously into her car's engine space.
Space is a commodity that's in short premium. The characters cram and cramp the frames with their creaking contradictions. They're all murderous and 'murder-able'. And they are constantly running in and out of a marooned motel where Ram Gopal Varma might have shot the sequel to DARNA MANAA HAI if Deepak Tijori hadn't.
All the characters are shown to be in fits of anger, anguish and a general fear of the unknown. The 'unknown' is frankly, quite a commodious term here. There's a psychotic convict (Kelly Dorj) on a rampage and another loony (Makrand Deshpande) in prison. A stammering spouse tends to a wife who's rapidly bleeding to death until Rajiv Singh sews her neck with an ordinary needle-and-thread.
"Good job," Shawar Ali observes appreciatively.
Wish we could say the same about Deepak Tijori's cut-and-waste thriller. It has no coherent psychological basis, nor any clear-headed narrative pattern. By unnecessarily complicating the editing pattern, Tijori further worsens the bleak and babbling scenario.
We are left looking at a crime thriller, which provides a new definition to mental harassment in movie theatres.
The performances are uniformly hammy. Newcomer Rajiv Singh stands out with a split-personality debut. His voice is clearly dubbed by someone else, thereby further aggravating our sense of being witness to a murder mystery where the victims are sadly out of sync with the ground rules of the genre.
For the record there are no conventional romantic pairs, no weepy mothers and long-suffering sisters in sight. But yes, there are plenty of dead bodies…and two item songs by the sexy Ms Shetty, including one performed entirely in bed.
One of the petrified and mystified characters compares the murders in this film to the ones in that old whodunit GUMNAM.
"But all the murder victims in GUMNAM knew each other. We don't know one another!" reasons Shilpa Shetty.
The makers of GUMNAM would be hard pressed to recognize KHAMOSHH as an offshoot of their product.
Times have changed. Shilpa Shetty has the guts to play smoking swearing tart. But when it comes to the dance floor she's to square one.